Dominic Massa / Eyewitness News
NEW ORLEANS - Saying they expect the city to once again raise the bar when it comes to hosting major sporting events, local organizers and members of the Super Bowl XLVII host committee outlined some of the plans for the event Wednesday, less than five months away from the game.
That includes major fan events at the Riverfront and Woldenberg Park, and even a set of floating iconic Super Bowl Roman numerals, which will be displayed on a barge on the Mississippi River when the Super Bowl descends on the city next February.
At a luncheon for city and tourism industry leaders, reporters and members of the local host commitee at Manning's Restaurant, officials with the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation said they are closing in on the goal of raising $13 million to host the Super Bowl and related events. Jay Cicero, president/CEO of the foundation and host committee executive director, said more than $11 million of that amount has been raised from corporate donors.
One of the key selling points for the city remains its compact nature, when compared to other host cities. Host committee member Sam Joffray touted the one-mile footprint that all of the major hotels and events will be located in, with relation to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, where the game will be played. The New Orleans Arena and Champions Square, as well as the Morial Convention Center and Mardi Gras World, will also be utilized.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu said at the luncheon that the dozens of road repair projects underway across the city will be completed in time for the game, which should ease the already-predicted crush of traffic downtown.
Quint Davis' Festival Productions will be heavily involved in the entertainment portion of the Super Bowl events. The Verizon Super Bowl Boulevard, as it is being called, will be a major attraction along Woldenberg Park, free and open to the public Jan. 31 through Super Bowl Sunday, which is Feb. 3.
Also part of the events will be a day of community service and major rebuilding efforts at local playgrounds, including the donation of the Superdome's artificial turf to Harrell Playground after the Super Bowl is played.
More than 8,000 local volunteers will be needed for the events and host committee members are working to build a database of available workers.
It is expected that more than 5,000 media representatives from more than 20 countries will also be in town for the Super Bowl.
The game will be televised on CBS and WWL-TV Channel 4.